Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 30, 1964
NUMBER 51, PAGE 8,13b

"I'd Rather Do Something Wrong

Donald P. Ames

How many times, when talking to someone about the work of the church, have you received the old reply, "I'd rather do something wrong than to do nothing at all." There seems to be some mental satisfaction in this reply, as though at least doing a little, even if wrong, is better than not doing anything at all.

Certainly God is not well pleased with those who are simply sitting back and doing nothing at all. Whether we like to admit it or not, there are many in this class — both amongst the conservatives and the liberals. All too often we will point out a few congregations that are busy about the Lord's vineyard and then "crow" about how busy "we" are, when in reality many are plainly sitting still and are content with meeting for local worship services, meeting local obligations, and then feel they have accomplished all God desires of them. If anyone is brought to Christ, it is not because of an active personal work program nor due to supporting of the gospel in other areas, but rather because they happened to attend services and after hearing sermons came to believe.

In giving the great commission, the Lord made it plain he wanted his disciples to "go." We are not going to promote the truth today either in or out of the church by waiting for others to come to us, but we are going to have to take the initiative! We hear statements today that all who are going to leave liberalism more than likely have done so as a result of the beating Woods and others have taken in the debates — but how many have actually carried the battle into the home grounds of those teaching error? We are not content when denominationalism refuses to debate, but strive to teach the individual members the truth regardless. However, today, when the liberals retreat from a stand for their beliefs, we say "all is being done that can be" — and let a few leading churches carry the load. No wonder many who might be pronged to leave error for the truth get discouraged when they see nothing but a dead congregation content to just sit still and meet local obligations, No, we don't have to endorse liberalism to "get on the bandwagon," but a lot more of us need to get on the bandwagon of the Lord — to truthfully be "on the march" for Christ. We need to face up to deadness, inaugurate work programs, and put ourselves to work. We need to raise our horizons beyond the city limits and see where we can help others. Oh no, we can't all support $100.00 per week, etc., but how many could begin with even $10.00 per month? And then add on as the growth permits. Are we really doing all we can, or is the terminology "doing nothing" more true of many of us than we care to admit? Whether amongst the local membership or beyond city limits, let us all resolve to do a bit more — to truly develop an active body of the Lord's people, before we too fall under the Lord's promise to the church in Ephesus. (Rev. 2:1-7)

But, in fairness, we need to also point out that too many times the above statement is not made in complete honesty. To many, unless we get on the institutional bandwagon, and begin putting all the benevolent societies, Herald of Truth, "Christian" colleges, etc., in the budget, we are "doing nothing." This charge may be made even against a church supporting several men in foreign fields and engaged in a well organized and effective program of local personal work. They seem to feel that unless we are doing something their way, and unless we are blowing a bugle for all to see, then surely the church is not doing anything because it hasn't "tooted" loud enough to get its name on the front of the Advocate. To these, we can merely point out the church survived in New Testament times without all this centralized promotionalism, and it was active. We can be active tor the Lord the same way today and certainly be well pleasing to Him too.

Also, when we follow the Lord's plans, a church is not going to get itself involved in all these human promotions existing today, so may be just busy with its God-given responsibility of preaching the gospel. Someone charges we don't believe in caring for orphans because we believe the Scriptures teach the existing benevolent societies are wrong. Then as if a final proof, cry, "If you do, then why aren't you doing so?" If a church has amongst its members those for whom it is responsible and refuses, then certainly the above charge can be truthfully made. However, if a church does not have any such amongst its members, let it give thanks to God and continue to preach the gospel to those in real need. As one preacher once put it, "I believe the Bible teaches me as a parent to provide for the hospital needs of my children when such a need arises, but I'm not going out and hit them in the head with a hammer to prove I believe it." "So we should be. When the need arises, let us arise to meet it, but let us also beware we don't follow after liberalism just to try to prove we believe in caring for our own needy.

While we cannot be well-pleasing to God by merely sitting back on our haunches and doing nothing, many seem to work under the false delusion that if they are merely doing — right or wrong — then they are going to be more pleasing to the Lord. So, they content themselves by admitting they had rather do something wrong than to be doing nothing. Paul points out that such is a slanderous position and brings a just condemnation (Rom. 3:8). Christ says, "Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth (first of all he must be active) the will of my Father who is in heaven" (secondly, he must be active in the right thing and the right way). (Matt. 7:21) Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1,2), Moses (Num. 20:10-12), Saul (1 Sam. 15:22), John (2 John 9) and many others will quickly point out that such a policy is sheer foolishness. Such logic could also be used to justify the missionary society, Catholic charities and hierarchy, church-sponsored denominational money raising schemes, whole sale support of Billy Graham or Oral Roberts evangelistic meetings, and for that matter just about anything that may be wrong but gets results. And by what rule of logic will they stop?

And what is the end result of those who are dead — doing nothing? THEY ARE LOST! Christ said we must DO God's will to get to heaven. (Matt. 7:21) And what is the end result of those who are zealous — but erroneously so? THEY ARE LOST! Christ said we must do God's will to get to heaven. (Matt. 7:21) No, friend, I'll not be content to do something wrong, but rather strive always to do God's work in God's way. When wrong, I shall change in order to be right. Will you be as honest?

— 450 West Park Ave., Aurora, Ill.